As the holy month of Ramadhan draws to a close and as the festivities of Eid set in, many of us go through incredible spiritual and emotional states.
Eid al-Fitr stirs up great excitement, elation and joy within us. Underpinning these states tends to be:
- a great sense of accomplishment for having completed the fasts;
- a great sense of energy as one feels spiritual lighter, refreshed and more connected to God; and
- a great sense of eagerness as one longs to live a more God-centric life.
What is commonly experienced by many of us though is that the ecstasy of Eid is not long-lasting. Rather, shortly afterwards we find that we have settled back into old routines and resumed old ways.
One reaction that we can have to the normalisation of our lives is that we can remain contented with just being nostalgic and feeling slightly upset at not having the same spiritual hunger than we had during the holy month. In this sense the coming of Eid represents the end of a short-lived spiritual era.
Another reaction that we can have is to not passively accept a spiritual decline and religious recession. Such passivity is encouraged by thinking that we were only spiritual because there was a special ambiance during the holy month of Ramadhan and with the atmospheric change brought about by the end of the month, our spiritual life-source has been completely cut.
Alternatively we can see the holy month as a month which has:
- given us a taste of how sweet it is to worship God;
- instilled a drive within us to internally struggle with our souls and externally support the causes of God; and
- educated us on how to lead a life in which the lofty takes precedence over that which is lowly.
If we look at the holy month in this way then the coming of Eid will represent to us the dawn of a new spiritual beginning.
Imam Zainul Abideen (pbuh) in his magnificent Dua al-Wida (the Supplication Bidding Farewell to the Month of Ramadhan) movingly asks from God:
‘O God, with the passing of this month make us pass forth from our offences, with its departure makes us depart from our evil deeds, and appoint us thereby among its most felicitous of people’.
The Imam (pbuh) then goes on to express to Allah on the day of Eid we repent:
‘The repentance of one who does not habour a return to sins and who afterwards will not go back to offense, an unswerving repentance rid of doubt and wavering’
Such enlivening words provide us with (i) details about the kind of the repentance indicated to by God in Chapter 66 verse 8 of the Quran – in which he orders those who believe to ‘turn to Allah with a sincere repentance’ – and (ii) highlights to us what our attitude should be towards the end of the holy month.
With this we pray to God that He:
- accepts what little we did during the holy month;
- converts out regret over our shortcomings into an unbending resolve to make up for these limitations during the rest of the year; and
- enables us to turn our back on our old ways and to embrace a new life of virtue and Godliness.